Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
The marinara was left behind on the stove.
My whole body shivered for a moment, my heart throbbed hard and fast, and my stomach started churning as I stood dumbfounded. Nagi wore a bitter smile while his lips and hands trembled, looking at me from the other side of the house.
I immediately walked towards the window and opened the curtains once again. The sky hasn't calmed down yet with only blurs of the outside seen due to the endless shower of spear-like rain. However, the water had begun to inundate outside.
After a single silent retch, I took many breaths and ended the vigor with a sigh until my body recovered.
"I literally forgot that May isn't also a safe month from rain…"
"W-What was that that I just saw outside?!"
"I suppose this will be your first time experiencing this kind of flood since you and Shiro live on a high area. But I assume that you've seen this scene around the news."
"I-I know that floodwater is simply filthy from what I have seen… but black water…? This is way beyond what I had thought!"
And so, Nagi indeed said. It was truly something that is not to be beheld. I would expect that the effect of the black floodwater will persist for a little while, as flashfloods haven't happened in the past two years. Meaning, undisciplined people continued to throw their trash on the rivers and channels, where it will be buffered, clog the water lines and release extremely contaminated… I don't even know if you can still call it water at this point. But to put things simply, the main river in Ginga pretty much has a suspended mixture of river water and all sorts of filth under it. Once it rains lions and wolves, the river will overflow and we're doomed.
Shiro, after looking out on the repugnant scene switched places with Rin in the kitchen. As the latter looked outside, she asked me.
"Ugh… How did you endure this kind of environment for a decade…?"
"A heartless child was even driven to an extent of fear every time this happens. Then you'll find yourself being paranoid before you sleep.
But more importantly, you should call your parents first, Rin," I suggested after putting my phone on my ear.
Time after time, Nagi peeks through the window and turn around with an unsatisfied expression. Even in the middle of the call, I can't help but notice it after doing it six times.
"Oh no, sir! I don't think I can do that after already being bothered by that black stuff outside! Am I supposed to just leave that unnoticed?!"
"Well, either it (1) subsides on its own, (2) subsides quickly, (3) subsides painstakingly slowly, or (4) the rain will let out and the flood will go down, and the water will mysteriously go up again."
"I don't see any way to be relieved from that!"
"We can't do anything about it since the holy grail war comes every year."
Nagi and Rin then sat rest in one place. Their ability to quickly pick up on references calmed them down.
"That was surprisingly easy."
After the toppings on the dough got to know each other on the regulated heat, the first batch then got taken upstairs.
I have lost the reason to argue if I will actually turn on the AC or not. It had already rained for nearly an hour, but the temperature hardly went down. Having no electric fan near you will certainly be my, Nagi, and everyone's peril. Being mindful of my fuse and circuit breaker, I still turned on the machine and invited the three in my room while the sound of the rain hitting my roof had become louder on the second floor.
Although, I immediately went down as they went up, and began checking on my windows in the entire house and the glass door of my veranda.
"I forgot to reinforce my windows too…"
"I don't see why you need to, Potato."
"Back in the family house, the wind already shattered seven panes of windows."
"Now I know why you need to, Potato.
And you still turned on your AC. But geez, at least try to still save energy even with the presence of your panels," Rin took the remote and took the temperature up ever so slightly.
"I realized I haven't told you, but I am tied with a family illness of high blood pressure so I can't expose myself to too much heat."
"What…? I didn't even notice that…" Rin frowned.
"That's because it just happened as I'm turning 20. Thankfully, it's not very bad and I think Dr. Kagetora did something to it to reduce my symptoms."
Shiro shivered, "I really can't get used when you talk like that nonchalantly…"
"As always, please be careful, Potato."
"The flood is the bigger concern right now, Rin."
"Tsk. Fluffy as always, hahh…" Nagi complained.
"Oh, yeah. We have fewer things to do since I sold out my TV here. No games, I guess."
Being aware that I suck at starting topics, I still managed to bring up a half decent question directed to Nagi and Shiro.
"How do you mostly spend your time when it's just the two of you? Time of summer vacation is not included, of course."
"Hmm… I guess we go on dates from time to time?" he hesitantly said. "Well, you've at least known already about that and how Shiro likes sweets."
"Oh, Shiro. I didn't really bring this up, but you do call Nacchi by his name like Potato, right?"
I interjected, "I don't really see a reason why I would call him with that nickname."
And Shiro responded, "It's nothing really worth mentioning, though. I called him back to his name since we weren't just friends anymore.
Wait, are our love life the only thing you can ask about?"
"You're talking to a pair of introverts," we both said in chorus.
"I guess. Ringo really has a gap between talking to Gin and to others."
"Ahahaha… I tend to be either peculiar or extremely timid, huh…"
"How did you explain to your parents when you started going out, anyway?"
Nagi told his story first.
"My dad was pretty chill with it, but my mom scolded me for a straight week until she accepted the fact. She had a point, though—making me criticize myself and set my priorities straight.
And yes… sometimes I fall a bit short since I spend my allowance on sweets."
"H-Hey…!" Shiro hit Nagi's shoulder. "At least you're being honest now. You could have told me that earlier. I didn't know I was bothering you."
"That happens because you allow, Nagi. People sometimes really can't say no to something. Rin's kind, but I knew late that she actually has the courage to decline others and slap them on the face. Well, not literally."
"Anyway, how about Shiro?"
"I'm an only child in the family, so you would expect my parents to be strict. But Nagi decided to present himself to my parents without being called."
"I literally knelt down in front of them to make them accept. But of course it didn't go well."
"Figured as much."
"It took me like two weeks until I got them to accept…"
"I'm sorry we can't relate."
"But we can ask the two of you the same thing. Even we don't know how your parents responded to that," Nagi had to mention it at this point. Then he added, "I wonder how Uncle Shuu reacted right after he found out."
"Ahhh… I guess our parents are a little lenient," Rin answered. "Mom and Dad found out beforehand that I have feelings for Potato, but they didn't go against it. In Potato's case, I guess his parents just want him to find happiness after all that happened to him."
"But in the end, they didn't really tell me if that's the case. They just eavesdropped on our moment and congratulated us just like that."
"T-That sounds painfully simple…"
Suddenly, Dad called.
"Just when we're talking about them.
Hello, Dad? Did something happen there?"
"Not really; the house is still fine. How's the car on your house?"
"I think the water is still half my steps before my yard, so it's still fine. Anyway, if the flood gets high, Cerulean Street is higher than White."
"Ahh, thank goodness. I guess there will be lesser casualties this time around. Alright, I'll call back soon to check up on you."
"Who was it, Potato?"
"Dad's worried about the car since it always dies out if water gets on the pipes."
"I really can't imagine how Gin endured this every year…"
"It's difficult to get used to this, Nagi. Until I was eight, the family house wasn't renovated yet so we're level to the sidewalk. It's 2009 when the highest flooding here happened. I think it's around the waist of an adult."
"Seriously?! How long does it even take for it to subside?!"
"Hmm. If the river doesn't overflow or if the waterways aren't clogged, it will be gone in less than half an hour. But if we get the worst, probably around six hours or more. Maybe even overnight."
"Ugh… it's already making me depressed just by thinking of it…"
"And then you will have to clean an inch or two of mud inside your house."
"Stop, you sadist!"
After a few more moments of chatting, Shiro finally hinted a problem we didn't think of as the rain finally weakened by a margin.
Rin caught on and asked, "Why are you fidgeting, Shiro?"
"Uhh… We're kind of imposing here in Gin's place since we can't go home for the day… I was thinking about how we will be staying the night."
"Now that you mention it, I guess I should prepare the guest room."
And after a moment of silence from Rin, she added, "I'll lend you a change of clothes, Shiro."
Nagi suddenly let out a sigh of relief.
"But wait, how are you planning to go back to your house, Ringo?"
Instead of replying to Shiro's conflicting question, Rin looked at me with a smug smile.
"You really think I wouldn't notice what you did, huh, Potato?"
"Ahahaha. Then there are no problems for you, Shiro," I pointed towards my window.
Nagi's eyes widened and made a little fist pump.
"I think I get it now… There's no rainwater dripping from both your roofs and your window is dry."
Rin then opened my window and stepped on my sill, as though about jump off. But keep in mind that the distance of our windows are not even a meter. Just like that, she passed through my window to Rin's own room window without a drop of rain on her.
The other two's faces are looking at me with a "what just happened" written on them.
Simply put, I made an extension roof between our houses that is more than the width of our windows, and a stepping concrete platform under our windows, which Rin didn't even use.
Thankfully our windows aren't small.
While Rin and Shiro are talking out things that Nagi and I can't relate, I also made him pick out clothes he can use. I was worried that my current clothes will be big for him, so I took out some of my clothes that I used when I was inside the Void.
"Want a shirt with a huge gaping hole on it?"
"I've already seen your scar so many times so don't show it to me!"
In the end, eight slices of pizza weren't enough for us so we still made dinner. By the time we ate at seven, we decided to just eat in my room since the stench of flood was getting in the first floor. However, the rain has been thankfully reduced to a drizzle.
I asked the others to retire early in the night, but I suppose that "early" won't be the case. We however do not know what's going on in the guest room as Rin decided to also stay the night thinking that Shiro might get lonely by herself.
"Thanks for the bath, Gin.
Wait, you have your own bed but you still have a futon lying around? Ah, no. You don't really see futons in this country everyday. So that's amazing."
"But seriously, you should sleep now so you'll have energy for tomorrow. I'll prepare coffee for all of us."
"I'll tire you out tomorrow until you feel like Goku after using Ultra Inst*nct."
He went to bed immediately.
But it was not the case for me as I'm doing monitoring outside from time to time. Thus, I ended up waking up every hour. But I sleepwalked two times which probably got Nagi worried.
▪ ▪ ▪
6am of the next day; nine hours have passed.
Nagi and Shiro, although in separate rooms, woke up without their roommates. It was not exactly at the same time, but they meet in the hallway of the second floor.
"So you woke up early. Good morning, Shiro."
"Like I can sleep longer… Morning, anyway.
Those two sure are early risers, huh."
"Was Ringo sleeping soundly last night? D-Don't get me wrong. I have a reason why I'm asking."
She was drooling on her pillow."
A/N: I should probably count all the times Rin drooled on a pillow.
"Gin seems pretty uneasy last night. He was waking up time and time either to look out on his window or leave the room.
But who does squats while asleep?!"
"Pfft… Did that seriously happen? But talk about sleep talking full recipes… Those two are really weird."
Out of nowhere, Haku appeared and jumped to Shiro's head.
"You're glaring as always."
For Nagi, it was a sight to behold that a cat helped her girlfriend tie her hair. Afterwards, they went downstairs just to see Gin and Rin in the kitchen.
"Morning, you two," I called out to them. "Enough sleeping, Haku."
Then, Nagi heard what seems to be the sound of a shovel grinding on the concrete from the outside.
"Has the flood subsided?" he asked.
"I see. But it really has been a while since I woke up without dying on the heat."
"If the sun shows up today, the humidity will just go up, Nacchi."
"I don't want that…"
I asked them to come to the living room while the mugs and plates show up on the coffee table one at a time.
"Twenty minutes should be fine after we eat. Anyone up for episode 8 of Fru*ts Basket?"
Nagi snickered, "Sheesh. I forgot that you have a Crispyroll subscription.
Thirty-five minutes later.
"Sorry for dragging Rin and Shiro for this… but I will need your help outside."
"I'll clean up our front anyway," Rin cheered.
Nagi was not even wearing a worried face, but he still raised his hand and asked.
"Why didn't you mention me too?"
"You're a guy so there's no point in it. I'll tire you out, like I said."
I took out things that can be of use alongside four rubber boots for all of us from my storage. I managed to take out two shovels and two brush brooms which will be adequate in cleaning up outside.
I do not know how the three will react once they see about two inches of mud on the street itself. But what will be, will be.
Thus, I opened my front door. My front yard began to dry out when I checked and woke up for good. But what lied ahead in front of our eyes was more like a real aftermath of the holy grail war. There is… a huge pool of black mud on the road along with several pieces of rubbish that perhaps got washed away from a toppled community bin. Aside from that, two cars unfortunately is being pushed over the mud, while the people's legs have turned gray from the filth as they poke in and out of it.
However, the neighborhood had already begun clearing out before us, and a fourth of the road in front of my house already got cleaned.
This is the reality, but I strictly suggest not to visualize a lot of what we're stepping on.
Oh, right. Just think of any disgusting things as sparkles.
We started work, but Nagi already cried out on his first scoop as us two guys handled the shovel.
"My word, this stuff is heavy!"
"Then get used to it. This is good exercise, you know."
"You say that because anything feels light for you!"
Then suddenly, Rin came towards him. "May I borrow that, Nagi?" a hint of excitement and childishness was present to her question.
But as I have expected, handing a shovel full of mud was nothing for her.
Nagi fidgeted and looked back and forth between me and Rin with a shocked face.
"By the way, Potato. Even though this is my first experience in an after-flood, I don't think this amount of mud is a usual one."
"Yeah. This happens because water lines are taken for granted since it mostly doesn't rain over the summer. When it's rainy season… which will probably begin by the end of the next month, won't have this much quantity."
"Yo, musuko! Already starting ahead of me, huh?" Rin's father stepped out to the street.
"Morning, Uncle Shuu! You're a little late to the game!"
"Hahahaha…! You're still energetic after all this fiasco!"
On the other hand, the autumn couple has made their own discussion.
"Shiro, your father and Rin's are very opposite, don't you think?"
"I get what you mean, but it's amazing how Gin and Uncle Shuu can get along so well. It's different from what I had imagined."
"Y-Yeah… Your father still doesn't like me a lot."
"I can't blame you both…"
~ ~ ~
This is the first time in a while that I did a cleanup, but it sure is convenient to have more people. It only took two hours to clear out the road, and the community cleaning group eventually came to finally empty out the drainage from all the clogging.
Of course, we all took a requisite shower after all the dirty work and had Nagi and Shiro to have a treat of a lunch made by yours truly.
"Ahh, everything you eat after getting exhausted really is delicious."
Shiro nudged with her elbow and said, "Even water gets a taste."
"So you also had those moments. You probably think that even that is strawberry shortcake."
"I don't take it to that extent, you know."
~ ~ ~
"Gin! Thank you, really. Even after we asked to stay the night, you still did more than that."
"Heh. Just think of it as a sleepover.
And… I think the road is clear from anything on your way home."
"That's good. But that's one heck of an experience for me and Shiro. I think I'll have to be more careful when it rains, even in our house."
"So that even gave you two a lesson…
Anyway, the sun is already up so you better get going before it gets too hot again."
"Alright. Thanks again!"
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